Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What I've Learned About Promotion

So I attended every workshop I could on promotions at National and I've discovered a recurring theme - no one knows what works. And no one knows the best way to market your work personally.

Well, hell. And I thought some big secret was going to be revealed once I had reached the lofty heights of PAN (published author network, for those not in-the-know) and gained entrance into the PAN only workshops. Now, I didn't really think they had the answers. I don't think anyone does. But I have pinned down a couple of things.

If you are trying to get your order numbers up, you need to start about six months in advance of release. Don't bother at three months prior to your release, except for independents, who will order anytime. About a month prior to your release, you have two groups to begin targeting heavy - booksellers and readers. You re-target the booksellers in order to get them excited about your work so that they might hand-sell it to their customers. The reason for targeting readers probably doesn't need any explanation.

The big question is - what is the best way to target these groups?

The answer - who the hell knows.

You might spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars printing up media only to have it tossed immediately in the trash. How will you ever know? The answer, you won't. There's really no way to gauge what works and what doesn't. So the fact of the matter is, you have to do what you think the best thing is for you and your work, within the confines of your budget.

And that's it - the reality of how to market your book summed up in one sentence. (sigh)

Guess it's off to the budget to figure out what trash can item I want to spend my money on.


Jaye Wells said...

Jeez. You know, it constantly amazes me how petty my concerns are compared to what they'll be when I get published.

I do have to say Meg Cabot's breath spray was brilliant. I kept it with me all conference. I also like Jane Graves mood ring idea. I, for one, throw out book marks. I know I'm not in the majority but if I kept them all I'd be drowning in them.

Let us know if you find any good resouorces for items.

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Jaye - Yeah, the worries seemed to multiply by about 1000% after the sale, but that's not to diminish the worries before it either. Neither side is the Nirvana one would like to hope for.

I liked the breath spray too, although I cringe every time I use it. :) The mood rings were also a very cute idea.

I think another problem authors face is how to market themselves and not necessarily their current book. It's that whole branding thing. I had it kind of easy with the Louisiana stories and growing up there.

I will definitely let everyone know when I find good resources. I have a Writers page on my websire, but since it just launched a couple of days ago, I am not even done loading all the content I want.

And right now, selling Book #2 is my top priority, especially since ideas 3 & 4 have already come calling and I'm having to resist.

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